The Manor House: Where Sense and Sensibility Meet Whimsy!

Courtesy, ElleDecor

Courtesy, ElleDecor

I have no picture of the pink television but thanks to the blog Girl Meets Glamour, I was able to locate this picture La Jolie Grandmere's pink and orange bathroom. 
Now just imagine the bubble-gum pink television set!

Courtesy, ElleDecor

In the picture below, La Jolie Grandmere infuses her whimsical personality with a more formal place setting. Getting ready to entertain, many of her friends, especially esteemed Nancy Lancaster, would adorn the table with fresh flowers. Not Bettina! A head of cauliflower all dressed up in a black grosgrain ribbon is much more suited to her minimalist palette!

Courtesy, ElleDecor
I promise that one day soon I will learn how to use my scanner... a million apologies to Bettina for doing her grand rooms such a disservice.

The following is the translation from the article that featured her in the French ElleDecor Maisons.

It is both a complimentary and truly precise piece.

“All her life, Bettina Bachmann was the epitome of elegance and American high society; this gave her an unequalled poise, which then translated into good taste. Paralyzed by polio and put in a wheelchair, she had the will to overcome this handicap. Always dressed by the most fashionable designers, impeccably groomed, she moved in circles with such a natural ease, one would not know her incredible achievements.

She could have been a heroine in a book by F. Scott Fitzgerald, born in Rochester, New York, in to a well off family, (her father invented the concept of the supermarket) she designed her first house at 11 years old, and this came to fruition barely 7 years later when she married her first husband. She remarried a second time to Lawrence Bachmann, a Hollywood Producer. She lived between America and Europe in houses she decorated with such perfection and such personality that you had to ask how she did it. In Paris she lived in an extraordinary abode, which was just by Notre Dame and known as the House of Heloise and Abelard. She decorated the house in a minimalist style, choosing original colours. She loved fresh colors, orange, coral, purple, fushia and deep pinks. She thought that she was born a minimalist and that the house had to be perfect. While she was doing her renovations, she managed the workers who arrived at 7am and gave them their orders in her couture night clothes.

She gave orders, corrected errors and complimented their work, all before retiring to take breakfast. An article was published called The House of Heloise and appeared in all the design magazines of that period.
Apparently her mother had visited the house, had a tour and concluded that her daughter “absolutely could not live in such a place” even though the house was magnificent with light hardwood floors, black and white furniture and theatrical chandeliers.

When Bettina arrived in England, she chose Oxfordshire and a splendid Manor House to live and decorate. She was a neighbor of the well-known fellow American, Nancy Lancaster, who is well known for inventing the English Country look as we know today. However, contrary to that period, Bettina did not choose any flowery chintz, big pelmets and over the top curtains. Even though she was coquettish and feminine she did not approve of girly design.

Her house, The Manor House, was exactly what Bettina had been looking for in the English countryside. Severe lines, great proportions, huge windows which let in the light and a beautiful mature garden/park -- very stately and plain without superfluous ornamentation, decoration or sculptures. Absolutely plain.
She received her guests at the back of the entrance hall which she had designed so she could watch the visitors enter. To accentuate the well thought out interior design, the only piece of furniture was a table designed by Bettina, in fake marble and metal, which was in the shape of a Japanese bridge. The dining room, beige with black doors, a wrought iron table, chairs covered in thick white cotton material and also a centerpiece of flowers, gave the guest a sense of peace. In the living room, the elegance of the traditional décor and majestic fireplace, contrasted with the library and its cupboards which were painted in eye catching colors and furnished with cane furniture.

This was Bettina’s art, to create visual environments. She loved putting fresh ideas into her house, indifferent to critics by adorning her bedroom with a latticed coral and pink walls; smiling about the surprise which registered from the guests seeing an orange and pink bathroom with a metal bath. She liked telling her old acquaintance about these events with the words “Nothing they say matters. I am the one who has to live here.”

Bettina Bachmann was a young spirit. At an age when other women preferred to take it easy, play the grandmother/ grande dame role and pass their years growing orchids or roses Bettina Bachmann preferred to challenge and shock the world of design.”